A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Michael Wetkas concluded his examination-in-chief in the ongoing case of diversion of public funds meant for projects in Jigawa State involving a former governor of the State, Sule Lamido, his two sons, as well as four others.
Lamido, his sons; Aminu and Mustapha, Aminu Wada Abubakar, Bartholomew Darlington Agoha, their companies; Bamaina Holdings Ltd. and Speeds International Ltd. are facing an amended 43-count charge before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly defrauding Jigawa State of N1.35billion.
At the resumed hearing today, the witness demonstrated to the Court how the defendants used their companies to receive several payments suspected to be kickbacks from contractors for contracts which were masked as sub-contracts while Lamido was governor .
Wetkas, with the aid of a chart, showed the Court how Lamido received payments into his personal accounts from Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Interior Woodworks Ltd., and A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd. who were contractors in Jigawa State via Bamaina Holdings Ltd. and Speeds International Ltd accounts which has him and the 3rd defendant, Mustapha, as sole signatories.
While Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company received over N21bn for contracts from the state, the duo of A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd and Interior Woodworks Ltd. received over N8bn and over N3bn respectively for contracts they executed for the state. Records, according to the witness, showed that A.G Ferrero paid over N114m into the Skye Bank account of Bamaina Company Ltd.
Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company also paid over N116m and N273,474,775.00 respectively into both the Access Bank and Unity Bank accounts of Speeds International Ltd. He also noted that cheques totaling about N397,553,470.00 from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company were paid into the Unity Bank account of Speeds International Limited.
The witness also pointed out that cheques amounting to about N14.8m were paid into the personal account of the first defendant, while N48m was paid into Bamaina Company Ltd which has the first defendant as sole signatory.
Wetkas concluded that “Flowing from the activities and investigations conducted, it was revealed that no sub-contracts or contracts for purchase of bitumen, diesel and steel iron, were executed by the defendants’ companies to warrant such payments.”
“From the journals recovered from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company, where the transactions were supposed to be reflect if they were carried out, there were no entries for years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Meanwhile, within that period, over N500m was said to be paid for the purported sub-contract or contract”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter till May 19 and 20, 2021 for cross-examination of the witness.